Planet China

Wedded bliss

In 1957 Mao Zedong observed: “After the basic victory of the socialist revolution in our country, there are still a number of our people who vainly hope to restore the capitalist system.” This remark, along with many others warning of the “poisonous weeds” of capitalism made it into his Little Red Book.

So what would the Great Helmsman have made of the fact that none other than his own granddaughter would become a billionaire? Mao’s granddaughter Kong Dongmei has just been ranked 242nd on the New Fortune Rich List, with wealth amounting to Rmb5 billion ($813 million). As the magazine points out, Kong has become “remarkably rich”, breaking the tradition that “Mao’s descendants don’t do business”.

How did she amass this vast fortune? Through marriage, it seems. In 2011 Kong wed entrepreneur Chen Dongsheng, founder of a host of businesses, including an auction firm. She met Chen when she joined one of his other businesses, Taikang Life, after she graduated from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Chen subsequently divorced his first wife to marry his princeling bride (who is 15 years his junior). The combination of commercial savvy and revolutionary lineage has been bountiful (so much so that New Fortune decided to rank them on its list as a couple). Indeed, aside from their lucrative stake in the Taikang Insurance group, the pair also own ZJS, one of China’s biggest courier and parcel delivery services. Given Mao’s legacy of targeting capitalist enemies and rightists – millions of whom died in purges and campaigns – it is grimly ironic that his own daughter’s daughter is now so rich that she would never have survived his regime.

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